Among the first probes were the two Sound D'Afrique compilations of African pop. This second volume was released in 1982, and while it is not exactly a collection of soukous, it is a set of Congolese music and three songs from nearby countries influenced by rumba. What is remarkable is that none of the musicians collected was a major star, except perhaps for the very talented Pablo Lubadika Porthos. A few months after this record was released, Island unleashed King Sunny Ade's Juju Music, completely eclipsing the Sound d'Afrique records and igniting the "world music" heyday.
This album does collect the major hits from the assorted musicians, however, and it is a pleasant listen. The opening two cuts, from Central African Republic's Lea Lignanzi and Cameroon's Mensy, are sweet, and Pablo's "Madeleina" is fine. A few individual albums from these and other musicians on the album, as well as this record itself, were once available on the excellent Global Groove site.